(Sam) Hello folks, I’m Sam Capoun and today on That’s My Farm we head to the small town of St. Mary’s, Kansas, where we find Rezac Livestock Commission. But to most it’s known as the Livestock Sale Barn in St. Mary’s, a family tradition that began back in 1947 is very much still in business today. In fact, we hear about many different technologies and changes that have happened over the course of 68 years. Let’s take a look.Closed Captioning Brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission. The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.
(Sam) I’m Sam Capoun and today we’re in St. Mary’s, Kansas, with Rezac Livestock Commission and this is Denny Rezac. So Denny, tell me a little bit about the sale barn here in St. Mary’s. (Denny) Well, my father and mother started it, built this building we’re standing in in 1947 in January, broke ground and burned cobs to start this cinder block building. And then May 7th of ’47 was the first sale they ever had and we’ve been here ever since. We went from selling up to about 85,000 cattle a year now and what probably two or three, maybe five or six thousand back then. (Sam) So, you’re the auctioneer, correct? (Denny) Yes, I went to Missouri Auction School the fall I got out of high school in 1967 and been here ever since. (Sam) So what are some differences you’ve seen growing up? (Denny) Well, just the speed of commerce with the ring scale and the computerized, why now everything goes in automatically. And once the sale’s over in about 15 minutes why we can balance and know what’s going on where we used to handwrite all the tickets. And we’ll sell two or three thousand cattle today and in probably six or seven hours, where’d it take 12 or 14 hours when we used to weigh ’em outside and that’s the biggest change, is just the speed of commerce. (Sam) Well, the technology today you can kind of see it here in the sale barn, you have the old phones, are they still in use today or do most people tend to use their cell phones to call out? (Denny) Most people will talk on their cell phones going out, but if we get calls in why then they’ll talk on them. (Sam) So are these for buyers to call? (Denny) Buyers, yea. They’re scattered around the arena. Then the internet bidding and buying is a big change. We’ve been online for probably 10 years. (Sam) So, how are you online? What sort of organization is that with? (Denny) Through DV Auction. This time of the year is mostly feeder cattle and mostly order buyers, and farmer feeders and not…farmers are mostly in the hayfield or doing something else. There’s not a lot of farmers sitting around buying right now at this time. (Sam) Stay tuned we’ll be right back with That’s My Farm.
(Sam) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. We’re here in St. Mary’s, Kansas, at the sale barn. We’re here with Marty Schindler. (Marty) Yes. (Sam) So, tell me a little bit about how long you’ve been working here. (Marty) Started part time when I was 16 and full time when I was 18. (Sam) So a big stress in the industry today is low-stress cattle maintenance. So, what are the kind of protocols that you guys do here to stress that importance? (Marty) We handle the cattle a lot differently now than what we used to. (Sam) OK. (Marty) We used to do all the sorting with sticks and now we use flags. Used to be a lot more cows, cow/calf operators. Most of that’s gone to stocker cattle and a lot of that is double stock. Now you have cattle coming from mid-July. Since all that’s changed we’ve installed these sprinklers around here. (Karl) Part of the veterinarian’s role is to have an ID system on the adult cattle that come through here. Those that are going back to the country as well as those that are going to slaughter. And we put a back tag on their right side as they come through the chute and if they…also get a Federal ID tag, if they do not have a metal tag already. The first two numbers on the tag signify the state of where that animal was tagged at. While we’re working on we use this worksheet here that has the back tag down here, we put the breed here, the number tag, owner’s name, what town he is from and then we transfer that to a sheet that we mail into the state with the same information. We also preg check feeder heifers in the afternoon and we also work a few cattle on request for producers that want to have things vaccinated. You monitor anything that’s infectious and try to keep that from going back home to somebody. An obvious cancer case cannot sell. A hardware, lump jaws that are really bad, those are a few of the things that they don’t allow.
(Sam) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. We’re here with Kenneth Rezac, which is Denny Rezac’s brother and now we’re in the office portion of the sale barn. So, tell me a little bit about what goes on in the office part. (Kenneth) Well we have one clerk; she’s also the office manager, she settles with all the sellers with invoicing and checks on that side. Two buyer clerks that settle with the guys that buy after the sale. Our office manager she does the mailing if these people don’t pick up their checks o Wednesday morning and reconciles the checking account, that type of thing the rest of the week. (Sam) But basically keeps you and Denny in line, right? (Kenneth) Well yea, they get on our case once in a while. (Sam) So what are some other job duties that you hold around here? (Kenneth) Well I deal with kinda nasty letter deals from Workman’s Comp or IRS or any of that kind of stuff, that’s kind of part of my duties. And I kind of designed our computer program we run, many years ago, and so I kind of maintain that if we have a glitch or something. (Sam) We were talking with Denny about the different technologies and the different improvements you guys have seen over the years at the sale barn. So, tell us a little bit about this computer program and how it runs. (Kenneth) Well, I designed it back in the early ’90s. I was no programmer whatsoever, but I was fortunate enough to find a man who lived here in town that worked for the State of Kansas as a programmer. I hired him to come in evenings and Saturdays. I knew how I wanted it designed, how I wanted it run and I basically just sat over his shoulder for about a year and told him what I wanted and how I wanted it to look and he did the coding. And by the time it was all done, that was originally designed to just multi-user DOS. And I could pretty much modify and write that code myself by the time we brought that system online. (Sam) So, how has this benefitted you on sale day, having computers versus not having computers? (Kenneth) The biggest thing is…you know it seemed like every week whenever all the invoices and everything was handwritten that there was always a transmission of figures or someplace, somewhere and it might take a day and a half to balance a sale. Or even if they just accidentally wrote the head count down wrong after one sale ticket on to an invoice either side of the sale, why we’d be out running through the yards recounting, looking for here and there, all that type of stuff. You know it saves, plus be able to print your after sale reports out and have ’em ready to do your ads and all sorted the way you want ’em; sort the whole sale by the sex of the animal and the weights of the animal and selling price so they’re all listed right away and you can grab out the high points you want for your ad, that type of thing. You know it’s just multiple things in many ways. (Chris) I’m Chris Rezac and I work out here penning the trailers. I have to know the number where I pen ’em at, so that every time they come in I know where to send ’em and when I’m finished I will give the farmer a copy of this ticket which is the pink copy. If he has any cows, the orange copy will follow the cows. And then the yellow copy will follow the calves, and the white copy goes into the office. All the numbers will be the same. And these are all my pens right here. And then I can…these here are sold cattle pens, and these, these pens back here I use them for big bunches. Or sometimes I have to use these back here. Each one of these pens holds 10 to 14 cattle, depending on how hot it is. Well the semis come in and back up over here. And Kenny takes these cattle down and pens over mostly back here and he writes their name on a card with the number of the cattle he counts off. And then when he gets a little time, he’ll make out a ticket and put that number on the card.
(Sam) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. We’re back with Denny Rezac at the St. Mary’s Sale Barn. Another facet of yours is purchasing cattle, so tell me a little bit about that. (Denny) We started a lot of years ago purchasing cattle for our local people here to background and go to grass. And we’d buy a lot of cattle for sales for different programs too. But we buy ’em for our customers and then they make ’em bigger and then bring ’em back and sell ’em here through the sale, 100 or a 120, 130, 145 days later. (Sam) So, about what weight do you buy them? What’s the best weight are you looking for? (Denny) Well, it depends which customer it is. We’ll buy anywhere from 400 pounds to 700-800 pounds. But 400-600 most of the cattle that we bring back in this country for backgrounders. (Sam) So kind of the same way with steers and heifers, just kind of through the personal preference of the buyer. (Denny) Yea, what their plans are with them. What they want to do with ’em when they get ’em. And then we buy feeder cattle for feedlots and other people also. Then we buy ’em all the way to 1,000 pounds. (Sam) So you are sending cattle just in Kansas or everywhere? (Denny) Oh we’ll send some to Nebraska and Iowa at different times and most…the biggest part of ’em will come right back here for our customers right here. (Sam) So what does that do to your business bringing ’em back here? (Denny) Well, it gives me a steady flow of feeders. We sell 6, 8, 10, 15 loads of feeders every week. And a lot of that is because of the cattle that I buy for my local customers to background and bring back here. It gives us a steady supply of feeders and my buyers know they can come here every week and purchase volume loads of feeders. (Sam) Now let’s hear from one of the backgrounders that Denny has. (Joe) Joe Capoun and I’m a Kansan, owner of the CX Ranch. Been backgrounding cattle for Denny Rezac for 18 years. He usually sends me mostly Angus, Angus/Charolais cross heifers. Cattle coming in will generally weigh 575 to 600 pounds. Usually go weighing around 800 to 825, depending on the quality of the cattle. Usually starts sending me cattle around the first of January. We’ll keep ’em in a backgrounding lot, feed about three pounds of a corn gluten distillers, kind of a grower ration and brome hay. Have them cattle in a lot until around the 20th of April they’ll start going out on some brome traps, then we’ll kick ’em from the brome out into the native grass where they’ll stay the remaining part of the summer and then go gather ’em off the grass around 100 days and send ’em back to the feedlot.
(Sam) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. We’re here with Nancy Rezac, which is Denny Rezac’s wife. Now Nancy I remember when I was in Kindergarten and you came for the nutrition program and they always say that kids hate celery, and I remember a thing that you did, that I still remember today was make the celery logs, with the celery, and the peanut butter and raisins. (Nancy) Ants on the log. (Sam) Yes, that’s right. So, I understand now that you’re kind of the head manager here at the restaurant at the St. Mary’s Sale Barn. So tell me a little bit about that. (Nancy) Well, actually my sister-in-law and I kind of share the duties, but I’m the one with the institutional foods training. So, the responsibilities and making sure the food sanitation issues and things are up to date. That’s kind of my thing. (Sam) And you were just saying earlier that your mother-in-law used to make 13 pies. (Nancy) That’s what she told me once. That people ate, everybody that came ate pie and now people know that that’s probably not too good for you. So we only sell about six pies a week. But she used to make 13 pies every week. (Sam) So, what are some other differences that there are from then to now? When did the restaurant start here at the sale barn? (Nancy) The restaurant started when the sale barn was established. And we’re now sitting in what we call the new part, but it was put on in the 70’s. But the original part that was built in the ’40s had a little, bitty room. It’s where the women’s restroom is now and it just had a real small bar with a few bar stools but they fed a lot of people. So, it’s always been the thing. And Denny’s Mom did that all these years and when she got to be about my age, she had a little health issue and decided that it was time for her daughters-in-law to take over. And at that time there were three of us daughters-in-law and so we decided we’d do things differently. So, we probably wouldn’t work together but we would take our month to do it all. And so, now there’s just the two of us, one sister-in-law has passed on. But so two of us take turns with the buying and the shopping. I get up early and come in about 7 and get things opened up and set up, and the first pots of coffee on and the counter scrubbed before the rest of the help gets here. (Sam) Yea, cause the cafe is kind of the center piece of all sale barns if they have the cafe. You probably get a lot of people generating through here throughout the day. (Nancy) We do. And it starts out early in the morning-retired guys around the community that all have farm connections in their backgrounds and then we have kind of a slack time. And then the help comes in to eat before they get started. And then we have a lot of buyers and sellers who come through the day. But early before lunch then a lot of elderly ladies from around town come down because they want to get their choice of pie before the noon hour. And they know they have to get here ahead by time to get their favorite kind of pie. So, then we have that crowd. And it’s funny to see through the day we have quite a few people that work around town come down to eat our hamburgers and fries and just plain food. A lot of places any more have different nationalities of food featured, but we just have good old burgers and fries like the old days. And homemade pies. Well, not homemade it has to be made here. But made from scratch pies. (Sam) Well, you’re certainly making me hungry, what time do you guys usually open up on sale days? (Nancy) Eight o’clock. We serve until the sale is over and basically until we run out of people. They start cleaning up, as soon as the sale’s over they turn off the grill and start cleaning up and that takes at least an hour. (Sam) So, make sure you come in and check out the food at the St. Mary’s Sale Barn and get the homemade pie and the extra good burgers. And make sure you tune in next Friday to watch That’s My Farm. Thanks for joining us.
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